23 Apr Joan’s falls, a big wake-up call
Gardening means a lot to Joan McKenzie. She describes it as her ‘addiction’ and the thought of not being fit enough to garden makes her very uncomfortable.
The 83 year-old now lives alone on the family farm in Newfield and less than two years ago she had two falls in her garden within weeks. It was the wake-up call she needed.
She immediately signed up for the Balance Plus class run by Tracey Heeps at TDHS. She’s regained her strength, improved her balance and she hasn’t had a fall since.
“I’ve always been very active with gardening and golf. If I wasn’t in the garden, I was on the golf course,” she said.
“It is two years this month since my husband John passed away. I had been caring for him throughout his Parkinson’s disease. Then he fell and broke his hip and spent a lot of time in hospital at Timboon and I needed to be with him a lot.
“So I’d become more and more inactive. I have back issues and sciatica, but I wasn’t walking as much as I used to and had become very unfit.”
Joan said it was shortly after John’s passing that she had her first fall and began to realise she needed to focus on her physical wellbeing.
“I was out in the garden and it slopes away a bit. I was just standing there and much to my surprise I lost my balance and tumbled,” she said.
“That first time I managed to stop rolling and I was fine, but then a few weeks later it happened again. This time I couldn’t stop and rolled over a garden bed and down onto a lower tier of the garden where there are rocks.
“Thankfully I wasn’t badly injured, but it shook me up a lot.
“My grandson has taken over the farm and is around most days, but I don’t see him every day. I started to think what if this happens and I’m stuck down there on my own hurt and no one knows.”
Joan said it was enough for her to take action and the following week she started the Balance Plus class and Tracey’s exercise program at home.
“I know I can stay here on my own for as long as my health allows and that the garden may get too much, but I’m so much stronger and fitter now that I’ve focused on it,” she said.
“I garden every day and I haven’t fallen since those two incidents. Gardening makes me happy and I enjoy having it looking nice.
“It’s good for me. I’ve always mowed the lawns as well and I really enjoy them looking neat and tidy. I used to use a push mower, then graduated to a self-propelled one but now I’ve got a ride on.”
April is No Falls Month
To attend any of the exercise classes at TDHS, please call reception on 5558 6000 to book a physio assessment and to discuss the most appropriate class for you.
An Occupational Therapist, which also can be booked on 5558 6000, can also assist in improving your balance.
For peace of mind and a sense of security to the elderly and their loved ones or carers, a personal alarm might be an option. For more information you can contact Fiona Hanel on 5558 6000.